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tv   CNN Tonight with Don Lemon  CNN  November 17, 2020 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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so we've been saying we have major breaking news unfolding, president trump firing the official at the department of homeland security who said there was no widespread election fraud
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in the election. chris krebs said there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. after that, krebs was fired. on twitter, here's what he said. his deputy resigned his position as well. trump also cancelling plans to spend thanksgiving at mar-a-lago. one official saying it feels like a bunker mentality at the white house. that was his statement on twitter, that the election was not compromised in anyway. i want to bring in the panel, welcome back, pamela and alex, and good evening to you, jeremy. there's a lot going on here. we don't know what the next 60 or so-odd days will be like. jeremy, krebs is out. you have a source telling you more about the number two official at the agency.
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tell us what you know. >> that's right. cisa's deputy director, matt travis, i'm told, has also resigned tonight. he was not fired by the white house or by the president in the same way that krebs was. instead, i'm told travis resigned after it was clear he would not be taking the helm of the agency. and instead, brendan wales is expected to take the helm. wales is a career official, but he's also served in senior positions under john kelly and kirstjen nielsen. and we found out before that you can be fired if you're disloyal to the president, if the president decides he no longer agrees with your policy positions, and you can get fired if you simply state the facts to
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the public. that's what krebs did, and the president decided he didn't like that truth, and decided he wanted to fire the person who was telling it. >> alex, you have been getting -- you've gotten a statement, i understand, from an official at cisa. what does that statement say? >> this all happened really suddenly. we know from jake tapper that krebs didn't know he was fired until he saw the tweet. now, we've seen a letter that has gone out from the cisa chief of staff, she writes, it's essential that we don't lose focus on the important work we undertake on behalf of the american people. i know i can count on all of you to work together to defend today and secure tomorrow. that line, that's something that krebs said all the time. that was his tagline, the line that came out of cisa all the time. and jeremy is absolutely right. krebs was fired because of what
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he has been saying in the days that have followed the election, he's been pushing back more and more aggressively against the president. not calling out the president directly, not naming him, but simply stating the facts. calling out conspiracies, debunking what he's called hoaxes and nonsense. perhaps his biggest crime in the view of the president was saying that in no uncertain terms, and he said this alongside other federal, state, and private election officials, this was the most secure election in american history. and this comes as the president of course is calling it a rigged election. you read some of that statement, don, in which they say that there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. the president is saying the opposite, and now chris krebs is out of a job.
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his number one priority was making sure that americans decide american elections. he may be out of a job, but he can sleep soundly knowing he was a huge part in overseeing a very safe and sound 2020 election. >> pam lelpamela, i want to get michigan's decision, what caused them to change their minds? >> we don't have a clear answer on that, don. here's what we know. what they did initially blocking the votes was unprecedented. there was public outrage, then they came back and decided to unanimously certify the vote. they did ask for the secretary of state to look at some of the imbalances at some of the p precincts with the imbalance in
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the number of signatures, but this fed right into the president's hands, he pounced on it, tweeting about it. and it initially fed into his false narrative about how the election was rigged. even though this was the most secure election in history, according to government officials. >> jeremy, the president has been celebrating the wayne county republicans' decision not to certify the joe biden win there, but then they reversed. >> he tweeted about it, and incorrectly referred to it as a decision not made by the wayne county board, but my michigan officials. saying michigan just refused to certify the election results. but the president is grasping
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for anything he can in this situation. day after day, the president has his advisers coming to him and saying the lawsuits are dismissed or withdrawn, or the lawyers are withdrawing from the cases because they realize they have no legal merit to them. so the president is looking for anything that he can possibly grasp on to at this point to make his case that the election was not legitimate. but the facts are, this election was legitimate, as chris krebs correctly told the american people. you know, and what is troubling, don, is obviously the president is getting encouraged by people like rudy giuliani, while other folks are trying to level with the president and tell him he's not going to overturn the election through the courts. giuliani has been arguing there is something that can be done
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here. and he made many of those conspiracy theory laden arguments today in philadelphia. >> giuliani, boy, oh, boy. thank you all. see you soon. be safe. what a strange time we're living in. juliet, krebs was fighting for the truth. you say his success was his undoing. why is that? >> his mission, and the office's mission, was to protect the 2020 election from foreign interference and foreign disinformation, and basically to provide state and locals with the tools they needed to protect the election. they did so successfully. it was remarkable. we didn't see the kind of disinformation or disruption we
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were worried about from russia if not china, and the election put a lot of stresses on the system, lots of people voted, lots of different kind of voting, in a pandemic, but it held together. and the next day, a president who wanted it to with held together may have given chris krebs an award. instead, the president began to undermine that work. the disinformation was coming from within the white house. and chris krebs and his team decided, rightfully, that they worked for the united states and not for the president. they needed to shoot that stuff down. and they did. >> doug, i don't know if you've ever seen anything like this, especially considering the timing, right? this president is out the door, every turn, he and his allies are doing everything they can to try to undermine this election, undermine democracy in the process. for every krebs and his deputy who stand up, there are countless more enabling this
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president. what is going on? >> for starters, chris krebs is one of the heroes of 2020, along with dr. fauci. and i hope joe biden considers giving him his job back once he gets inaugurated. here's somebody who did an amazing job. record voter turnout in u.s. history in 2020, amidst a pandemic, yet we ran a free and fair election. the problem is the cowardly enablers, and the key one is lindsey graham. americans invest in their senators over a period of time. lindsey graham knows about the u.s. armed forces and cia and the state department, he knows about what chris krebs is all about, and what it means to our democracy. instead, you see lindsey graham doing gutter work in georgia, trying to see if he can get ballots thrown out in states to let donald trump keep his
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fantasy that he's still president. he's one of the saddest, most pathetic u.s. senators. he's hitting joe mccarthy territory. luckily, we still occasionally have these patriots holding things together. there are some in the republican party, but very few. everyone should be saying, don't hoard warp speed, this is an operation that can save lives. help. >> i keep looking down, it keeps coming in. this is a letter the chief of staff of cisa wrote, a change in leadership is not a change in mission. it is essential not to lose focus on the important work we undertake on behalf of the american people. when you think about what is
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happening, doug just mentioned there are people holding it together, is our democracy hanging by a thread? >> no. this is what, i mean that honestly. i would be worried if the votes were closer, and i do worry about what is acceptable behavior. trump is trying to have these rallies, a couple of thousand show up. the way i think about it, they all think america is a joke. this is a way to think about trump and graham, all the losers who have surrounded him. turns out the people who take america seriously clearly outnumber them. i'm not saying i'm not anxious about what trump can do. but it's just as likely he does something harmful that he goes and plays golf, and never comes back.
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that's the nature of someone who does not take america seriously. i wasn't born yesterday. i've been around a long time. i think the system is holding. it's been stretched. there are stress tests going on. i do worry about the long-term damage. but it turns out there's more of us than them. and that should give people a lot of confidence. >> we're on the same page. i was very calm, then the more i see every day, i'm like, oh, my gosh, it's going to get worse. but it's going to get worse before it gets better. thank you both. i appreciate it. a lot of big breaking news tonight, including michigan's largest county certifying results, hours after republicans tried to block certification. with extra broccolini. my tuuuurrrrn! tonight...i'll be eating cheesy cauliflower pizza and yummy broccolini! (doorbell rings) thanks. (doorbell rings) thank you. ♪
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at university of phoenix, students with relevant life experience and eligible transfer credits save on average $11k and 1 year off their undergrad degree. see how much you can save. breaking news out of michigan, the wayne county board of canvassers voting to unanimously certify its presidential election results.
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coming just hours after republicans temporarily blocked certification of the results. wayne county was critical to joe biden's victory in the state, winning by more than 148,000 votes. the decision to certify the results only happened after citizens at the board's meeting tonight shared their outrage, with some saying republicans' initial decision to block results showed there was an attempt to silence the vote of the people. >> how dare you, how dare you try to silence the voice of the citizens. you will not get away with this. and understand and know, every decision you make that does not have moral decency, you will have to stand to account for
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that. >> glad to have both of you on. good evening. amanda, you said what happened in wayne county reveals something very important about our democracy. i think i retweeted it. what is it? >> our democracy is so dependent on good character of men and women in leadership positions. if you don't have men and women of good character in those positions, you do not have democracy. and the donald trump era has taught us how fragile it is. look at the results and seriously consider, would our democracy survive a 2000-style extremely close recount under these conditions, or a trump second term? i don't think so. the election is over, the results are clear, still two republicans on a four-member board threatened to throw the
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system once again into chaos. everyone knows that the trump campaign lawyers are fantasizing about this longshot scenario where they can get local boards not to certify the elections, and they can throw the result to republican state legislatures so they select the winner of the election, not the will of the people. that's what the two republicans were playing with in that vote tonight. as a native michigander, it was thrilling to watch the people on the zoom call. sitting on a zoom call, on a tuesday night, watching. and they had the facts. >> wasn't it fascinating to watch? >> and they were prepared to stop the steal in realtime. that was incredible. kudos to michigan. >> weren't you inspired by that? i had it on, i didn't care about the audio glitches. and every time i would get back to work, and there was an audio
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glitch, it was fascinating. jim, listen, the democrats have been fighting back in court. you also saw the people in wayne county go to town, they went to town on the officials who tried to disenfranchise them. the process is moving along, and it seems to be working. but aren't you concerned it's dragged out this long, and what could happen before the inauguration in january? >> any american should be concerned by what is happening in wayne county. i, too, watched it. and it's crazy that two republican electors tried to subvert the will of the people. but the people spoke up, and they backed these two idiots down. and the bigger problem here is, we're beholden to a system where the two folks can try to figure out how to subvert the will
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of -- this county is -- donald trump lost this county, 2-1. and they're trying to go through those machinations to take the votes away. but a bunch of grassroots people got together and said, absolutely not. that's how we elected barack obama, and we have to continue this wherever it occurred. i don't care how many times rudy giuliani and his band of lawyer idiots attempt this, so far they're 0 for everything. >> talk to me about lindsey graham, ted cruz, rudy giuliani, they're all playing a part here in this damage to our democracy. >> yeah. i mean, it's hard to watch. i mean, number one, because it is damaging to democracy. but i'm sort of thankful for the fact that it's not successful. all this nonsense that donald
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trump rolled out about the election being rigged, it will go down as one of the dumbest political strategic moves to question mail-in ballots, when you need them to win. the secretary of state down in georgia has been making the point, he's under assault from the entire trump campaign apparatus for daring to speak the truth about what happened in his state, and how donald trump lost it. he said, if you look at the absentee ballots in the 2020 primary, donald trump had thousands more votes. and those didn't materialize for him in the general election. he would have won if he would have brought those to the table. and georgia operatives are worried that in the runoff elections come january, there will be republicans on the sidelines because they've convinced their base that the election is rigged against them. that would be good karma if these tactics ultimately defeat
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the people that were using them. and i hope the truth wins out on both those twin channels. >> we'll have you back again, jim, and amanda. sorry, our time is short. we have a lot of breaking news. thank you, i appreciate you both being here. a sitting u.s. senator has tested positive for covid-19. senator chuck grassley, the iowa republican. 87 years old. god love him. wow. he was on the floor of the senate as late as yesterday, where he removed his mask to speak on the senate floor. he says he's in quarantine, and feels well. but i want you to take this, because his announcement comes on the heels of a dust-up among some senators over wearing masks on the senate floor. on monday, sherrod brown challenged dan sullivan to wear a mask, given that staffers are working near his desk. here's how that exchange played out.
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>> i would start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks. i can't tell you what to do -- >> i don't wear a mask when i'm speaking, like most senators. i'll put it on, but i don't need your instruction. >> there clearly isn't much interest in the body in public health. >> come on, people. just wear a mask. that exchange prompting senator ted cruz, the texas republican, to slam senator brown on twitter, and really stepping outside the bounds of normal senate decorum. sherrod brown is being a complete ass, he wears a mask as an ostentatious sign of fake r virtue. well, a senator calling a
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colleague a complete ass for simply asking -- first of all, his facts were wrong about how far people are away, and what constitutes facts, and all that. but asking a senator to wear a mask, what is going on here? you can decide what to call that behavior, americans, viewers. but maybe we shouldn't be so surprised by senator ted cruz not taking the virus seriously. over the summer, as covid was spiking across the country, cruz downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, especially if joe biden wins the election. >> if it ends up that biden wins the election, i hope he doesn't, i don't think he will. but if he does, i guarantee you, the week of the election, suddenly all the democratic governors and mayors will say, everything is magically better. go back to work, go back to school. suddenly the problems are solved. you won't even have to wait for
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biden to be sworn in. >> haven't heard anybody say that. no one. wrong, wrong, wrong. senator ted cruz. his attempts then and now to score political points off the coronavirus is pathetic. pathetic. covid-19 is raging out of control. hospitals are at record highs now. and the nearly 250,000 americans, their families, those people who are dead, i'm sure you would have something to say to them. every day we see republicans and democrats saying that, in their states, talking about people dying, and how bad it is. every day. and the news media is still covering it. guess what, senator ted cruz.
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it is not magically better. all the problems are not solved. especially in your home state of texas. you have a lot of work to do for your constituents there. wear a mask, while you're at it. it will protect your colleagues, and it will protect you, too. there's a name for you, but i won't say it, because i won't stoop to your level. the president's legal cases keep getting shot down, one after another. rudy giuliani is on the case now. how is that working out? plus, a big milestone for a vaccine today, but dr. fauci is saying, don't relax just yet. >> we don't want the extraordinary success of these two vaccines to get people to be complacent. help is on the way, but help is not here yet. it all as you possibly can,
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tonight, president trump firing the homeland security official who rejected his bogus claims of massive voter fraud, as he fights in court. but the cases are not holding up. here's cnn's tom foreman. >> reporter: disgraceful, living in some fantasy world. that's how an attorney characterized the president's lawyer in court, as rudy giuliani claimed election irregularities. trump's man echoed some of the same arguments from the ill-fated four seasons total landscaping press conference. >> i know this city has a sad history of voter fraud. >> reporter: but when a judge asked giuliani how he can
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justify throwing out thousands of votes, the former mayor dodged and kept pushing his theories. >> there is tremendous litigation going on. and this is a case where they're trying to steal an election. >> reporter: in hotly contested arizona, team trump has abandoned legal action now that it's clear it can't help him win there. in wisconsin, a recount would cost trump almost $8 million up front. and any hope for that appears to be dying. in michigan, it's been rejected for lack of proof. saying the election was rigged, but producing no evidence. his department of homeland security says the election was the most secure in american history. and ben ginsburg says looking
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over the cases, the utter lack of proof is just part of the problem. >> whether or not there are any valid charges in what the trump team has filed, what is clear is that there are not enough votes in question to change the outcome of the election in any of the states they're trying to contest. >> reporter: what happened to giuliani today was by some accounts humiliating, and to many, a sure sign that the president's bid is coming to a final and failed resolution, with joe biden still the winner. don? >> tom, thank you very much. now i want to bring in vernita tolson. what is your assessment? is there any merit to any of these lawsuits, and how long can
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this go on? >> no, it's important to understand that these are 11th hour attempts to change the election outcome, and it's not going to happen. what happened in pennsylvania, they're evidence-free allegations, allegations that election officials abused their authority and did not count votes properly. we're seeing a lot of the same allegations over and over, state by state. but it's really about messaging, and about the political case in the court of public opinion. >> it's about pr. >> yes. >> you got it. and listen, he's probably -- he will fail, and they failed to reverse the election. but is there long term damage to worry about? is every election now going to be fought out in the courts over
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nonexistent voter fraud? >> let's be clear. the fact that the court is involved and the courts are involved, plural, it's not necessarily cause for alarm. there is often litigation connected with elections. the question is, to what extent does that erode public confidence in our election apparatus? because people will start to question whether or not election officials are acting in good faith, they will question about fraud despite any evidence. everyday americans are not reading legal pleadings. he can spin it any way he wants. and his supporters believe whatever he says. so this lack of evidence will not sway many americans. and that's the danger. >> i want to have you back longer. i really enjoyed, very knowledgeable, great segment. see you soon. >> take care.
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some very promising news in the search for an effective vaccine to battle covid. officials at pfizer say they've accumulated enough safety data on their vaccine, they're preparing to file an emergency use authorization with the fda. a major step towards maybe somehow getting back to normal. tom, the author of "plagues and t the paradox." give us some hope here. we have to point it out, look at the surge in cases.
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we're at a crisis point, and people still want to get together for thanksgiving. what do you say to those families, tom? >> so i say to those families, if you can at all avoid getting together this season, you should. i know how difficult it is. i have an 87-year-old father, he's a widower, he's on his own. i hate not spending the holidays with him. i really do. but he has a heart condition, and i, you know, i've worked my entire career in public health. i can't think of how to keep him safe. >> how is he holding up in quarantine? >> even in quarantine, you know, we can certainly do your best -- >> i was asking how is your dad holding up at 87. >> it's tough. it's tough. it's been really tough on him. and for the rest of us, we need to keep in contact with him regularly to make sure he's
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integrated. but it's been a hard road for him. we're looking forward to hopefully in a couple of months where we can ease up. >> same for me, my mom, i can't wait to hug her. we just learned that the fda issued an authorization for the first home test, you can take a nasal swab yourself at home. the question is, is it going to be rapidly available, when, and the accuracy, and how much will it cost, how much will people trust it? >> so, the data is still emerging. obviously, with some past emergency use authorization it pays to be cautious. but it's a promising sign.
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expanded rapid testing could be one tool to bring us back to more normalcy. looking at our current viral load, it could help us make ourselves safer. >> and let's talk about vaccines. positive news from pfizer, if they get the emergency authorization. what is a realistic timeline for people to be vaccinated? >> it's a great question. science has delivered again, the way it has throughout the pandemic. the trial results both for the pfizer and moderna vaccine are frankly spectacular. they would be among the most effective vaccines ever developed. no real safety concerns during the trials. really diverse clinical trial subjects. everything you would want. so really, really promising.
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still more to go for that to be confirmed by the fda, but a really good sign. the challenge is, to reap the benefits of these vaccines, we need to be able to vaccinate a high number of adults. what research has shown, to have this vaccine and tend the panden its own, you need 75% of the population to be vaccinated. it's going to be a while to get the supplies up to that level, to meet that. and we need to overcome the challenges, but it's a promising start. science could not have delivered better than it has with these vaccines. >> that's great. and i have to -- i want to ask you the next question, because i've heard so many people wrongfully state, well, america should be doing herd immunity. that's what we need. in sweden, the country's former
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chief epidemiologist said sweden got it wrong. failed to prepare for the second wave of the coronavirus. that's a devastating miscalculation for a country to make. >> it is. sweden today has one of the highest death rates, population adjusted, in europe. its number of cases are spiking. they announced this week that they're going to shift from the current restriction, which is on gatherings of 50 people, down to 8 people. they're going to do it at first just for four weeks, but likely, from what they've said today, to extend it through the holidays. here's one important thing to note. even at 50 people limits for gatherings that's lower than a lot of u.s. states. sweden has moved down to eight, maybe this provides a lesson and guide for states that have been a little bit slow to adopt those
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kinds of restrictions. >> so much for that herd immunity. i hope you guys are listening to the science and to tom. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. >> we'll be right back. tonight... i'll be eating four cheese tortellini with extra tomatoes. [full emphasis on the soft a] so its come to this? [doorbell chimes] thank you. [doorbell chimes] bravo. careful, hamill. daddy's not here to save you. oh i am my daddy. wait, what? what are you talking about?
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we warned you at the beginning of the show, it would be a busy night. and it has been. tonight, president trump firing the official at the department of homeland security who publicly rejected trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in the
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election. chris krebs released a statement saying there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. after krebs was fired on twitter, his deputy matt travis resigned his position. in michigan, wayne county, home to detroit, certifying election results after republican members of the vote canvassing board initially blocked certification, the people were outraged, demanding the results be properly certified. and it's tuesday. well, wednesday in just a few minutes. so thank you for watching. our coverage continues. this week at petsmart.
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good evening. we'll continue with the breaking news, two stories connected to the widening effort by president trump to inflate baseless claims of voter fraud. today, he fired the top dhs cyber security official, after he released a statement that said that the november 3rd election was the most secure in american history. other breaking news. in the michigan county that includes detroit where they prevented the presidential results for the entire county. the vote was 2-2.


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